PR in a new way: how projects are quarantined

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Concerts, shows and photo shoots – all this has disappeared from the everyday life of Ukrainian show business stars and owners of famous brands this spring. But not everyone has stopped it. Domestic celebrities and business leaders did not stop appearing in the media, creating fresh content and products. How did Ukrainian PR-agencies work with the updated schedule and supported their plans, we asked the top specialists. What projects managed to make a success of the whole country without leaving home, and why in PR is still working reception “word of mouth” – in our special project. 

Yula, CEO of YULA Company

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Как ваше агенство адаптировало свою работу в условиях кризиса?

We stepped out of our comfort zone, weeded out everything that was unnecessary or obsolete, and became more efficient. This period was a time of restructuring our business, we stopped putting off important steps for the future and went to the next level: we started working on launching our own label, conducted several trial online engagements with the educational course YULA PRaktika, opened a full-fledged advertising department,  which helps our clients to get additional income. We tried to keep our staff as much as possible, because each employee is very important to us, and we found a compromise in the terms of cooperation. Not a single client left us during the crisis – we gave everyone the opportunity to make money, even when concerts and private events were impossible.Keeping the team helped us not to decrease turnover, and work in full – perhaps even more, because a large load came from the translation of all activities online: online concerts, online communication, instagram-meetings with fans. Communication has shifted, and so have we. My team and I realized how much we needed to communicate, we missed our weekly Western market case studies and brainstorming sessions. All of this was happening at Zoom, but we realized that offline works much better for us.

Which of your clients during the quarantine did you work with most productively and how was that?

The crisis is not a bad way to stimulate creativity. For example, TVORCHI, as soon as the quarantine began, released their quarantine jingle #soundsquarantine. These were everyday household sounds that the average person hears in quarantine, but interestingly designed musically, carried the message: “stay home.” This video was supported by dozens of national media, and the Ministry of Health published the video in their official social networks and messengers, where we got millions of coverage in a short period of time.Sergey Babkin and Artem Pivovarov gave several online concerts on YouTube and Instagram, “Ze Interviewer” shot and released several episodes with security measures, launched a podcast with interviews and celebrated three years of special project in the media. So the work for us and our clients hasn’t diminished – quite the opposite.

Roman Medynsky, founder & CEO of PR Batteries Agency

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How has your agency adapted its work in the crisis? 

PR Batteries entered the quarantine and economic crisis quite calmly, without panic, relying on  experience of the agency during the two crises of 2009 and 2013. We knew exactly what to do and how to do it. This helped us retain some of our clients and projects – we moved our work to a “quarantine” format, reducing our fees, but maintaining the volume of work. At the same time, we were able to do without cutting employee salaries – they remained at the prequarantine level. We also strengthened the work of the new business department, actively involved in the search for new projects and clients,  and focused on promoting directly the agency and the services we provide. And already in April-May we received new projects, including agreements to conduct press tours to several hotels in different cities of Ukraine. The remote format of the employees and the remote management of the agency’s work was not a surprise or difficulty for us either. PR Batteries has been working in this mode for several years now and  the remote office format shows its effectiveness. We learned how to work long distances from each other and this helped us adapt quickly to the quarantine conditions.

Which of your clients during the quarantine did you work with most productively and how was that?

During the quarantine, we were actively involved in the crisis response of one of our clients, whose name we cannot disclose. During that period, we were actively engaged with the media, repelling the reputational attacks of our client’s opponent, and forming our own information agenda. Нам удалось отразить репутиционную угрозу, частично остановить волну хейта в СМИ и соцсетях, навалившуюся на нашего клиента, склонить на свою сторону большую часть аудитории, а также откорректировать репутацию клиента в положительную сторону.

The second successful case of this quarantine is the launch of the service of author’s walks along the Dnipro river on the elegant cabriolet Sparkling Boat Kyiv. Проект появился во второй половине июня и за первый месяц мы успешно реализовали PR-кампанию проекта, организовав громкую презентацию проекта для СМИ и селебрити, получив в итоге более 30 публикаций СМИ и несколько сюжетов на ТВ, за счет “сарафанного радио” и работе с инфлюенсерами “взорвали” соцсети и заставили говорить о проекте. In the interests of the client, we managed to negotiate and sign an advertising contract with Bayadera, the largest alcoholic holding company in Eastern Europe. In the nearest future we are preparing an advertising campaign with Olimpia Vaitmustash, Ukrainian model, DJ and IT-girl, and Alexey Gladushevsky, Ukrainian actor, musician, television producer and owner of the most stylish man according to ELLE MAN AWARDS. As part of our cooperation with the National Music Award YUNA, we successfully implemented an information campaign of the online contest YUNA Junior in the media. Now the agency is preparing a PR-campaign and presentation of one of the luxury brands to the Ukrainian market.

The agency’s team is also getting ready to work on the campaign trail this fall.

PR-team Ladó Agency

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How has your agency adapted its work in the crisis?

First of all, we offered everyone, without exception, more loyal special conditions. Thanks to this, we retained absolutely all of our customers even in these difficult times. Work has stopped only with those projects that were originally less business-oriented. They came up with new activities not only to keep sales, but, above all, not to lose audience loyalty, the power of their own brand. After talking to each brand and client, we prepared several work plans for them, depending on different scenarios in the country. Of course, we paused all offline activities – scheduled events, lonchas, presentations, brunches, and lectures. They began to use the format of creative newsletters and newsletters of press packs for the media more often and moved all the work to an online format. The whole team got even more involved in the inner workings of our brands, trying every day to come up with new ideas for both content creation and other processes that we weren’t previously involved in. An important event of the quarantine for the whole agency was the long-awaited launch of the online course “PR for Everyone. It was during this period that we all had not only the desire to do it, but also the time – it was very lacking before.

Which of your clients during the quarantine did you work with most productively and how was that?

Honestly, with all of them. Every brand in our portfolio did not stop active for a moment during the quarantine, on the contrary – most were ready for even more action and steps. I would like to highlight one of the projects – the collaboration of cosmetics brand Yves Rocher with Ukrainian underwear and swimwear brand Fox lingerie, which we implemented as a special project for the Day of Sanskrit (celebrated June 1). From start to finish, it was devised and executed in full lockdown, and that’s a big win for everyone. It was nice to feel the strong support of local bloggers and media who talked about new collections and brand projects. We are very grateful, because this is a great contribution to the development of Ukrainian fashion and industry in general.

Anna Nosok, coowner PR Agency POTOLOK

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How has your agency adapted its work in the crisis?

We are very lucky! We’ve always been digital, we’ve always been online. It just so happened that the team switched to working remotely without an office back in November last year, and during the quarantine, they didn’t have to change anything. And at that point, we already had a lot of projects planned online. There were online hangouts, Zoom calls under brands’ names, collaborations with bloggers. Everything went on productively, as if in the usual format.

Which of your clients during the quarantine did you work with most productively and how was that?

My love in terms of working during quarantine is the collaboration with Morshynska. Very dynamic guys with a lot of creativity. With them, the calls in Zoom were prompt and fruitful. This brand and Amway’s projects are the best example of how to work with contractors online. At some points during the quarantine, we began to appeal with a special message – #havehome. Bloggers took photos of the house to promote brands. That, too, was interesting. As Influencers, my husband and I also did a similar FaceTime photo shoot.


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How has your agency adapted its work in the crisis?

If you take the post-isolation period, no way. We do not notice the crisis as such. In the case of our agency, it only added more work. During the quarantine period, we sent employees to manage projects remotely, but we concluded that with our individual approach and customization of orders, it was impossible for the team to work remotely, so in the summer we gathered immediately in the office.

Which of your clients during the quarantine did you work with most productively and how was that?

The work of our agency is related to events and personal brands of customers. Most productively, we worked on updating strategies for clients to build new lines of communication and increase efficiency in a congested infofield. For events, we have begun to create concepts for clients who are planning image events and private celebrations in the fall and next year. Самой большой популярностью сейчас пользуются семейные события, свадьбы и дни рождения. We don’t have a definition of wedding Buro, but we approach any event with our own creativity. During the quarantine we made miscalculations and concepts for four big weddings and, we didn’t even count how many, birthdays. So we see that online will never replace live communication, it is part of the culture, way of life and communication.

Victoria Pokatilova

Photo: provided by the heroes of the material 


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